Usually for these reviews, the spirits I review have been sent to me for the express purpose of reviewing them. They’re either new, or have been rebranded, or there is something else noteworthy about them.
That is not the case this week.
For this week’s review, I went into a liquor store and found a bottle that seemed, frankly, like a bad idea. By bad idea, I mean bottom shelf, generic label, and something that under most circumstances that don’t count as duress, I wouldn’t buy (once I graduated from college, at least). Enter Desert Island Long Island Ice Tea mix.
Labeled as “a blend of rum, vodka, gin, tequila, & triple sec liqueur,” Desert Island is produced by Sazerac in Louisville, Kentucky. In order to really get a feel for the liquor in front of me, I drank it straight and mixed with cola and a splash of sour mix to recreate a Long Island Iced Tea. The review of nose, palate and finish are derived from drinking it straight.
Nose: It smells like sweet nail polish remover. There’s an ethanol undertone that you might expect from something that costs less than ten bucks for a bottle. You might argue that there is some complexity derived from the blend of spirits all in one bottle, but why would you want to? It smells like cheap booze, end of story.
Palate: Sweet more than anything. The syrupy nature of the triple sec comes through, but you do get notes of the rum, vodka, and the tequila. By notes, I don’t mean the subtle hints of molasses or citrus or anything you might get from a single spirit. I mean you get a hint of vodka and a hint of tequila.
Finish: Short and sweet, with a burn like you might expect from other cheap alcohols (though the burn is somewhat mitigated by the amount of sugar in the spirit).
Final Thoughts: On its own, Desert Island Long Island Ice Tea is pretty bad, as you might expect. I don’t think the Sazerac company has any dreams that it is some magic liquor that is cheap and tastes delicious. When made into something resembling a LIT though, I hate to say it, but it isn’t as bad as I thought it would be. It is a perfectly serviceable mix for when you’re low on funds or when you just feel like making a Long Island Iced Tea and don’t want to buy five different bottles of alcohol.
Desert Island Ice Tea is 37% ABV retails for around $8.99 per bottle.